Need tax credits this year? Check out energy efficient home upgrades - Green House - USATODAY.com: Alas, since most of the federal credits are for existing homes, I looked at the ones for solar, wind, geothermal and fuel cells. Because our street's tree canopy makes our lot so shady, solar isn't viable. It's not windy, so a turbine makes no sense.
I focused on geothermal heating/cooling and got multiple bids, which were extremely expensive -- about $65,000. I'm convinced the contractors jacked up their prices to account for the tax credit I'd get. Bottom line: Since we're building a well-insulated house, we couldn't justify the cost. Based on our energy modeling, the payback period would probably be 20 years or more. We'll use a very high-efficiency conventional gas furnace.
So for my new ultra-efficient home, which I expect will get the top rating from the U.S. Green Building Council and the National Association of Home Builders, the amount I'll get in federal energy-efficiency tax credits: Zero.